Builder didn't follow electrical code?

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I am wondering if the builder of my house properly followed electrical code or, if the mishap I experienced is just an unfortunate situation. I am in the middle of installing ceiling mounted racks in my garage. The ceiling in the section of the garage I am mounting in is made up of oriented strand board (OSB), I think 5/8" thick. Since the weight these will bear is not great, I am not necessarily mounting the brackets on joists, but not avoiding them either. Screws used are 3/4" long wood screws. There is a room above the garage. While coming inside briefly, my wife asked if I was going to reset the breaker for whatever I had tripped. Not aware anything needed to be reset, I asked, and found out the entire circuit for the room above was not working. I checked the panel but could not find a tripped breaker. The breaker marked for that room didn't appear to be tripped, but I reset it anyway. Some brackets ended up either on a joist or right at the endge of a joist. I suspect one of these small screws, which would have barely gone past the OSB, had somehow punctured a wire. My gut is telling me that a wire installed there couldn't possibly be compliant with electrical code, but I wanted to check in with the tickedted electricians here. I can't get to removing that OSB panel until tomorrow night at the earliest, so I can't 100% confirm that's what happened, but the evidence is certainly pointing to that.
 
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Before you go accusing anyone of anything. Analyze and diagnose the issue and also read the code.
 
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Code varies quite a bit from place to place. What province & city are you in? Can you get the code from your municipality's website? Sometime it's available from the site for the department that issues permits.
 
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from what you've described I would guess no. Take a look at some new construction before the sheetrock goes up. You'll see wire run across ceilings in all sorts of ways. I guess it saves on material.
 
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Should be run through holes in joists, not on surface. Lucky you didn't get shocked when it happened, may have to pull it down & correct it. Not sure about codes in Canada, but that doesn't sound right.
 
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We would have to know if the screw you used went into a joist or not. At least around here the holes for wiring that pass through a joist need to be a minimum distance away from the wall board OR have a nail plate installed. No such thing is required for wiring just behind a wall not through a joist.
 

weebl

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I believe it is just one standard province wide here in Alberta, and from what I can see from a quick search online, seems to be nothing more than echoing the national code. I don't think nail plates are a requirement here as I have never seen them on any construction going up. Problem is, trades are in short supply here, and the builder of our home doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation. Not the worst, but certainly not the best. I know we have heat insulation issues with some rooms, so other issues aren't surprising. I'll try to sift through the codes to see what I can come up, but my gut tells me that a screw that pokes through 1/8", (maybe 1/4" if it was 1/2" OSB) shouldn't be able to contact any electrical or plumbing underneath. Now whether that is common sense, or code requirement is something else.
 
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On a side note, 3/4" screws are no where near long enough for your application. 2 1/2" would be the minimum I would use. It is always best practice to hit the joists with screws or nails.
 

weebl

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Originally Posted By: dernp
On a side note, 3/4" screws are no where near long enough for your application. 2 1/2" would be the minimum I would use. It is always best practice to hit the joists with screws or nails.
If it were for anything heavy, I would do that, but only light stuff is going up there.
 
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Originally Posted By: michaelluscher
I hope that pipe is Pex and not polybutylene
Looks like Uponor Pex to me. They have a system that uses expanding PEX rings instead of crimp-on rings to hold the pipe together. Supposed to be good stuff but you need an expensive tool to expand those rings. http://www.uponor-usa.com/Residential-Plumbing/Contractor/PEX-vs,-d-,-Rigid-Pipe.aspx
 
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Originally Posted By: weebl
Originally Posted By: dernp
On a side note, 3/4" screws are no where near long enough for your application. 2 1/2" would be the minimum I would use. It is always best practice to hit the joists with screws or nails.
If it were for anything heavy, I would do that, but only light stuff is going up there.
Maybe you could just use shorter screws. I rewired my old house and I don't recall specifics about this except that in general the wire has to be secured so it can't move *(stapled) and it has to be located safely in the first place. If you put a floor above you wouldn't want those fasteners to pierce the wiring, so you wouldn't lay the cable on the surface, but I think it is ok for it to lay on the ceiling material, if the cable is running with the joists. If it's crossing you have to drill holes or *(if you're not installing a floor ) run it across the top. It can even run over the top of insulation if it is secured somehow. Be careful who you talk to about this, if you do have a code violation you don't want to have to pay an electrician to rewire your house.
 

weebl

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Update: Got this referred to me by the provincial authority in charge of electrical code:
Quote:
12-516 Protection for cable in concealed installations (see Appendix G) (1) Where the cable is run through studs, joists, or similar members, the outer surfaces of the cable shall be kept a distance of at least 32 mm from the edges of the members, or the cable shall be effectively protectedfrom mechanical injury. (2) Where the cable is run through or along metal studs, joists, sheathing, or cladding, it shall be: (a) located so as to be effectively protected from mechanical injury both during and after installation; (b) protected where it passes through a member by an insert approved for the purpose and adequately secured in place. (3) Where the cable is installed immediately behind a baseboard, it shall be effectively protected from mechanical injury from driven nails.
Sounds like it didn't meet code if in fact the screw was able to pierce the wiring.
 
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Originally Posted By: zzyzzx
We would have to know if the screw you used went into a joist or not. At least around here the holes for wiring that pass through a joist need to be a minimum distance away from the wall board OR have a nail plate installed. No such thing is required for wiring just behind a wall not through a joist.
Those steel plates should be installed in front of all drilled studs that have water or wire running thru them. And 3/4" screws are NOT long enough to install 5/5" OSB. You want screws that will go at least as deep into the lumber as the sheeting is thick. So 5/8" needs at least 1 1/4" screws but since I've never seen screws that long go at least 1 1/2. Pretty sure you can find drywall screws that long. Too bad you weren't closer. I'd stop over and check it out.
 
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Is there an unfinished attic or other dead space above your ceiling? I can see them just tossing the wire on top of the 2x4 joists and stapling it to the top of said joists, since they'd expect only to hang a ceiling from the bottom. If it were me I'd put a 1x3 strapping on top of and perpindicular to the joists as applicable and staple the wire to that, as a "redneck raceway". Also, why 5/8 OSB and not sheetrock? Damp location? Insulation? Seems very heavy duty for something that's just reflecting light down.
 
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The way I read the OP he is installing racks underneath the OSB, not installing the OSB. THe OSB is part of the ceiling. There is a room above the garage. It is unlikely that a 3/4 screw would go 5/8 thru the OSB and then encounter a cable run across the joists, so probably this is some cable that runs along with the joist. If the OP screws thru the OSB and into the above joist, I don't think it would hit the wiring, but he said is he going in between the joist (must be a really light rack, for whatever it is holding, although 5/8 OSB is pretty stout stuff). I have never heard of OSB being used as ceiling material, that is pretty strange. Maybe that is where the opener motor is mounted. Maybe the OP can drill a hole big enough for a small mirror to see what is going on up there. Or pull one of the sheets down (not fun).
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
Is there an unfinished attic or other dead space above your ceiling? I can see them just tossing the wire on top of the 2x4 joists and stapling it to the top of said joists, since they'd expect only to hang a ceiling from the bottom. If it were me I'd put a 1x3 strapping on top of and perpindicular to the joists as applicable and staple the wire to that, as a "redneck raceway". Also, why 5/8 OSB and not sheetrock? Damp location? Insulation? Seems very heavy duty for something that's just reflecting light down.
Trussed roof systems require lateral bracing every 10',and they can be 1x4 or thicker,so your idea isn't anything more than extra,unnecessary lateral bracing. There should already be some up there. And it's very common to run wiring on top of the bottom cord of the roof truss. They don't need to be stapled though it's not a bad idea.
 
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I had a new house built this summer and asked my brother (35 year certified electrician, been superintendent, QC, etc.) to inspect the electrical subcontractor's work before they closed the walls. He was astonished at what he found. One of the biggest issues was the lack of nail plates in the garage and inside the house. Only too small ones had been installed in the kitchen. He provided me with the 2012 Canadian Electrical Code and I took pictures. We talked to the electrician who claimed that he'd been doing this for 12 years and never had a problem, patati patata. Thing is, they were cutting corners and not respecting the Code. I promptly called the contractor who was certain there was no way he could have problems with the electrical subcontractor he'd been working with for years. I also notified him by e-mail including a copy of the Code and points that needed to be rectified. Less than one hour later, the electrical subcontractor's owner was on site with an other electrician and proceeded to correct everything I had notified according to the Code. And that included nail plates everywhere needed. In the end, they could have charged me more for several electrical extras I had ordered but didn't. I had caught them cutting too many corners and they didn't feel good about it. Morale of the story, this is how contractors work. Cutting corners whe nobody is looking and mostly getting around it because everything in the house works, until like the OP, you install something on a wall, ceiling or garage.
 
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If the electrician is anything like one I know, it's possible you pierced a wire. This electrician's brother built two houses down the road from me and he wired them. The cable in the ceiling, he just laid it on the ceiling joists alternating top and bottom of every other joist or so. There were firring strips nailed to the joists for the sheet rock and the cable was lying on the fir strips where it went under the joist!
 

JHZR2

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Maybe this will make you feel better. I was refurbishing my kitchenand one of the tasks we did diy was tin ceiling with recessed LED lights. I pulled the lights from a AFCI breaker, and had some 14ga wire lying on the plywood overhead near the light opening. I was nailing the tin up with 18ga brads of 1 3/4", through 5/8" plywood. I only needed to brad every 6" around the perimeter and sparingly elsewhere on the 24x24" panels. I managed to hit only the hot, on the slightest cross section sitting on the plywood, with an 18ga brad. Hit only the hot, but tripped the afci. Here it is: When you consider 240 sq ft or so of ceiling, the cross section of the small length of wire on the ceiling, the cross section of an 18ga brad, and the chance of hitting only one of the three wires, and it being the hot so it tripped the breaker... Well... That was probably lower probability than winning the lottery.
 
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